Mike Martin Says "Welcome"; Burien's Population May Grow To Nearly 50K

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by Ralph Nichols

Signs around town declare it in several languages. But at last week’s meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, Burien City Manager Mike Martin kept the greeting simple.

“Welcome,” Martin said to the new residents of North Burien. Until that morning (April 1), their address had been in unincorporated King County. “We’re just thrilled” this has finally happened.

Noting the first steps toward annexation were taken “years and years before I got here,” he said the successful annexation of North Burien “is due in large part to the work of [the unincorporated area council].”

“It was a struggle, but when we got down to the actual annexation, it went just as it should,” including a “real solid vote” last August for annexation by Burien. “This is good public policy.”

One of three billboards welcoming residents to Burien.

And the city’s census of North Burien residents and businesses is revealing something unexpected, he reported.

“We expected around 14,000 new residents … it looks now like it will be more than 16,000 … so that would be close to 50,000 residents” in the enlarged city.

Martin also thanked North Highline residents who live in the remaining unincorporated area “for your expression of interest in Burien.

He noted there is “still active, enthusiastic interest” on the part of several Burien City Council members in an eventual annexation of that area, which remains a future option for these residents.

But, Martin added, the city “wants to make this annexation a success first.”

North Burien has already been included in the city’s planning process, he continued, including discussions for an ongoing program of maintaining city streets with routine asphalt overlays. Code enforcement will increase gradually with consideration for what has been allowed here in the past.

The city is also working with the King County Sheriff’s Office “to have a physical presence” in North Burien. This will probably include police staffing, parks and recreation information and permit processing via teleconnection with city hall at the existing sheriff’s storefront office in Boulevard Park.

“We’re hoping for something more central, but this is fine for now,” Martin said.

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